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Saturday 7 Al-Muharram 1446 H - July 13, 2024 G

Fatwa n° 357

Category: Miscellaneous Fatwas – Etiquettes

Dealing with an alcoholic sister


A brother is asking about the way he would deal with his sister who became alcoholic, albeit she observes some religious duties. May Allah reward you.


All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers until the Day of Resurrection:

You have to know that mixing with the people of disobedience and perversion is forbidden by the religion. Firstly, it is not permissible to fraternize (religiously) with the one who commits such acts. Lastly, it is obligatory to sever with him because the ruling that is established on a reason will make the analogy depending on it disappear as soon as that reason disappears. The valid reason justifying the religious fraternity is helping one another in religion, and this does not go along with committing the acts of disobedience.   

You have also to know that keeping the close tie of kinship is an obligation and its severance is a religious prohibition. The absolute minimum of this tie is to keep away from deserting your sister and you should keep good relation with her and talking to her at least by greeting her. The close tie of kinship is an affirmed right that must be fulfilled. And among the aspects of fulfilling this right is the fact that the close kin should not be overlooked the days of his affliction, need and poverty; and yet the poverty of religion is greater than the poverty of wealth.      

In the light of what has been said, your sister -even though she is addicted to alcohol and acts of disobedience- is unfair towards herself by committing what Allah عزّ وجلّ has forbidden. Taking into consideration the fact that she abandoned some religious duties, which does not reach the major disbelief; she merits accordingly the disavowal for her disobedience and allegiance for her faith, according to what was narrated by Al-Bukhârî that ‘Abdullâh Ibn Himâr رضي الله عنه used to drink alcohol. One day, he was brought to the Messenger of Allah صلَّى الله عليه وآله وسلَّم, then a man among the people said: “Ô Allah, curse him! How frequently he has been brought (to the Prophet on such a charge)! Upon this the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وآله وسلَّم said: “Curse him not, I swear to Allah -as far as I know- he loves Allah and His Messenger(1).

Besides, she is considered as a part of the lineage, and it is absolutely not permissible to desert the close kin according to the most predominant opinion of the Schools of jurisprudence (Fiqh). Disavowing the one who commits the disobedience acts, does not mean doing evil to him by speech and acts. On the contrary, one must treat him in a good manner inasmuch as this is a noble character commanded by the Legislator (Allah عزّ وجلّ) and recommended by Shari‘a (Sacred Islamic Law). Allah عزّ وجلّ said as regards the polytheist parents and the pacific unbelievers in general:

﴿وَإِن جَٰهَدَاكَ عَلَىٰٓ أَن تُشۡرِكَ بِي مَا لَيۡسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلۡمٞ فَلَا تُطِعۡهُمَاۖ وَصَاحِبۡهُمَا فِي ٱلدُّنۡيَا مَعۡرُوفٗاۖ [لقمان: 15[

The meaning of the verse:

But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not; but behave with them in the world kindly ﴿[Luqmân: 15].

Allah عزّ وجلّ commanded to have an appropriate behavior with the wives even though they are Jewish or Christian. Similarly, He سبحانه وتعالى ordered to treat Al-Mu’tamanîn and Al-Mu‘âhadîn(2) in a good manner, according to His saying عزّ وجلّ:

﴿لَّا يَنۡهَىٰكُمُ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمۡ يُقَٰتِلُوكُمۡ فِي ٱلدِّينِ وَلَمۡ يُخۡرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَٰرِكُمۡ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمۡ وَتُقۡسِطُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُقۡسِطِينَ [الممتحنة: 8.[

The meaning of the verse:

Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity ﴿[Al-Mumtahana: 8].

All members of kinship are included in the ruling concerning parents (the father and the mother). It is incumbent upon us to treat them kindly but never recognize their acts of disobedience, according to the generality of His saying عزّ وجلّ:

﴿وَٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَلَا تُشۡرِكُواْ بِهِۦ شَيۡ‍ٔٗاۖ وَبِٱلۡوَٰلِدَيۡنِ إِحۡسَٰنٗا وَبِذِي ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَٰكِينِ وَٱلۡجَارِ ذِي ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡجَارِ ٱلۡجُنُبِ وَٱلصَّاحِبِ بِٱلۡجَنۢبِ وَٱبۡنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَٰنُكُمۡۗ﴾ [النساء: 36].

The meaning of the verse:

Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess ﴿[An-Nişâ’: 36].

Hereupon, appears the difference between the creed of disavowal and the good behavior. The difference may also appears in His saying عزّ وجلّ as regards Ibrâhîm (Abraham)عليه السلام when he said to his father and community:

﴿إِنَّنِي بَرَاءٌ مِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ [الزخرف: 26[


The meaning of the verse:

Verily, I am innocent of what you worship ﴿[Az-Zukhruf: 26].

And according to His saying عزّ وجلّ to His Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم concerning his tribe:

﴿فَإِنْ عَصَوْكَ فَقُلْ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ [الشعراء: 216[


The meaning of the verse:

Then if they disobey you, say: I am innocent of what you do ﴿[Ash-Shu‘arâ’: 216].

And he did not say I am innocent of you, taking into consideration the right of kinship and lineage. As for sustaining and supporting the people of disbelief and disobedience, it is religiously prohibited.

This being said, what is incumbent upon him (the questioner) is to advise his sister in a gentle manner and with what consolidates her and brings her back to righteousness as much as he can. However, if he cannot do that while she persists in committing acts of disobedience, he has to loathe her in the same way as he loved her. This is required by (the creed of) loathing for the sake of Allah عزّ وجلّ, to disavow himself from the disobedience, because the acts she commits are abhorred by Allah عزّ وجلّ.

However, loathing for the sake of Allah سبحانه وتعالى does not mean deserting and severing the ties according to the opinion of some Companions of the Prophet such as: Abu Dharr and Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهم and others as well as some followers, in case where the exhortation is not useful. Rather, he should control and consider but not overlook; he should also be gentle towards her and help her to get out and be safe from the abyss in which she fell whenever he can do that. It is why, when one told Abu Ad-Dardâ’ رضي الله عنه: “Don't you hate your brother while he made such [a bad] thing?” He replied: “I rather hate his acts, otherwise he is my brother”. Given this, the religious fraternity is more solid than the kinship fraternity.

I say: this is when it is a question of religious fraternity, how would it be then when it is a question of both religious and kinship fraternity?

All this concerns the lapse committed in her religion; but her flaw concerning his right or acts of disobedience that she has committed in her weakness and he knows she has regretted having done them and she no longer persists in committing such acts; then, in this case, it is incumbent upon the Muslim to turn a blind eye, tolerate, cover them and consider all likelihood, i.e.: everything that could be understood in the best way, conceiving that it is possible to have a near or distant excuse, it is obligatory from the standpoint of the right of religious fraternity.

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ; and our last prayer is all the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and prayers of Allah are to Muhammad and his Family, Companions and Brothers until the Day of Resurrection.


(1) Narrated by Al-Bukhârî (6780) from the hadith of ‘Omar Ibn Al-Khattâb  رضي الله عنه.

(2) Al-Mu’tamanîn and Al-Mu‘âhadîn: are people who live under Muslims’ authority. Translator’s note.